Audiobook Clinic: Narrating books in a series

microphone in hand


A few days ago I wrote a blog that raised a question about whether authors, especially Indie authors, should concentrate on writing books in a series.

At the time I wrote that blog I neglected to mention the impact series books have on audiobook narration.

Books in a series present an opportunity and a challenge for narrators.

First is the issue of whether an author should use the same narrator in all books in a series.

It is not a straight-forward question.

For instance, even though the main characters will make repeat appearances in all the books, the other characters will change.  This can create a situation where a narrator may be able to nail the voices in book one, but have more difficulty with the new people in book two.

I have seen a lot of series on Audible where different authors use different narrators in books in a series.

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Maybe that’s because the first narrator was unavailable for the next book.  Maybe the more the author listened to the first book, the less enamored he became with the narrator’s performance.  Maybe when the reviews came in listeners praised the book but panned the narrator.

But all things being equal, a narrator has a real advantage when he begins book two in a series. His experience with the core characters from book one gives him a feel for the characters’ vibes which he can carry forward. If the narrator personalizes a voice for each character, then he has those voices “in the can.”

However, a challenge the narrator faces is staying true to the voices from the first book. It’s a subtle thing, but once a person tries his hand at narration, he sees how hard it is to do the same voice for a prolonged time. Sometimes the voices begin to bleed into each other.

All in all I would say that using the same narrator for as many books in a series as possible makes the most sense. If readers/listeners have enjoyed the first book in a series, part of their enjoyment comes from liking the voice and style of the narration.  If an author abandons a portion of a winning formula from book one, he may distract the reader/listeners who come back for more only to find a different recipe.

What are your thoughts?  If you find an author-narrator combination that appeals to you, do you hope the author sticks with the same narrator in the next book, or does it really not matter?


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